The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Toyota Verso is spacious, reliable and well-equipped. The fact that there’s room for seven in an MPV of this size is an added bonus.
Reasons to buy:
- Flexible interior
- Seating for seven
- Impressive level of kit
How good does it look?
“The Verso is a pretty smart looking thing”
In general, the Verso is a pretty smart looking thing, with sharp headlights and a curved roofline which does a decent job of disguising the car's boxy proportions. there's also an interesting feature line down the sides, which kicks up at the back of the rear doors, adding an extra touch of stylistic interest to the design. All models get LED rear lights, body-coloured door mirrors, bumpers and door handles as standard. From Icon trim upwards, you get alloy wheels, too, ranging from 16- to 17-inches in size. In these models, you also get privacy glass, chrome detailing and a piano black front grille. Top-spec Excel versions add silver roof rails and LED daytime running lights.
What's the interior like?
A high-set driving position gives great visibility, and there’s lots of light in the cabin, particularly in models with a panoramic sunroof. The driver gets plenty of adjustability so they can find the perfect driving position with ease. Its main gauges are in a pod just below the windscreen, but just to the left of the driver's eyeline, which can make them difficult to read. The materials inside feel generally solid and well built, but there's some dated switchgear in there, and the orange backlit displays in the main instrument cluster look like they're from an '80s sci-fi film, rather than a modern car manufacturer. The rest of it looks pretty smart, however, with silver trims dotted about the place and the buttons are all logically laid-out and easy to use.
How practical is it?
“There are 32 possible seating combinations”
There are seven seats, although adults will struggle to use the rearmost chairs. There are 32 possible seating combinations, and with all rear seats stowed, the boot measures 1,009 litres loaded to seat height and 1,696 litres up to the roof. It's a really usable space, too, with no load lip and a wide opening; while both the second and third row of seats fold completely flat, leaving a vast loadspace. That’s roughly on a par with the maximum load capacity of the Grand C-MAX at 1,742 litres. In addition, the double-deck glovebox with a cooled top section is large enough to take a 1.5-litre bottle, and there are large door pockets, fold-down seatback tables with cupholders, a centre console box, a concealed drawer beneath the front passenger seat, second row underfloor storage bins and driver and passenger pockets for mobile phones or music players.
What's it like to drive?
The Verso is pretty pleasant to drive. It rides nicely, absorbing the bumps well, but without losing its composure. Steering is direct and reasonably well weighted, being light enough to make parking manoeuvres a cinch, yet with enough weight to enable you to take corners with confidence. It doesn't lean over in the bends as much as you'd expect it to, either. It's not as fun to drive as rivals such as the ford C-Max, but it's not too far off.
How powerful is it?
So far, we've only tried the 109bhp 1.6 diesel and it's a really good engine. It pulls strongly throughout the rev range and peak torque comes in at a lowly 1,750rpm, which means it's pretty much always there for you to use. The six-speed manual gearbox - the only one available - is nice to use, too. It's got an accurate, light action, which makes swapping ratios easy. The pedal weights are all pretty good, too with a relatively light clutch that makes sitting in traffic less of a chore.
How much will it cost me?
If running costs are your priority, and you're likely to do plenty of miles in the Verso, then we'd advise that you ignore the petrol engines. Both emit more than 150g/km of CO2 and none return more than 43mpg. The 1.6-litre diesel is the one to go for, however, with CO2 emissions of less than 120g/km and it'll return more than 62mpg on the combined cycle. there are cleaner and more efficient small diesel MPVs out there, but this is the best of the Verso bunch.
How reliable is it?
Toyota has a stellar reputation for reliability, and its placing near the top of Warranty Direct's Reliability Index supports this. There's no specific reliability data for the Verso, but there's no reason to doubt its continuing dependability. Toyota has a large, well-regarded dealer network, too and if something does go wrong, it shouldn't cost too much to fix, either.
How safe is it?
The Toyota Verso MPV was awarded a five-star score in Euro NCAP crash testing, with 89 per cent for adult occupant protection. Anti-Lock Brakes, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Brake Assist, steering assist Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Hill-start Assist Control and third row airbags will all help. The addition of a small, fixed front quarter-light window improves driver visibility.
How much equipment do I get?
“The Verso is available in Active, Icon and Excel model grades”
The Verso is available in Active, Icon and Excel model grades, with a CD/Radio, Aux-in and USB port, electric front windows, front fog lights, Hill-start Assist Control and air-con fitted as standard. Most UK customers are expected to go for the Icon trim, which adds 16-inch alloy wheels, Toyota Touch multimedia system, leather steering wheel, rear-view camera, folding door mirrors, cruise control, DAB radio and Bluetooth. Excel ups the alloys to 17-inches and adds part-leather seats, keyless entry and start, rain-sensing wipers, Bi-xenon healights, rear door sunshades, auto lights, roof rails and leather trim accents.
The fact the Toyota Verso can swallow seven occupants requires a double-take. It really doesn’t look that big. The Verso has always been a reliable small MPV, and now it’s better to drive, there’s even more reason to buy one.